Summary: Message to encourage and motivate men to deeper discipleship.
Many of us men grow up without any idea of who we are or how we’re supposed to be in life. Quite a few of us didn’t have the best role models of men/fathers. For so many of us men, even though we have faith values, we’re often less outspoken or passionate about faith than women because we got a blank picture from our fathers. It’s because our fathers were not as passionate or outspoken about their faith.
I’m afraid that for many of us it’s just been easier to live out some the stereotypes that we’ve seen – men are supposed to be tough guys, silent types, unemotional, detached. That usually doesn’t work out very well does it?
The Bible story opens up today with God regretting that he made Saul king. Saul was bad news. He rejected God. Now God tells Samuel its time to find a new king who will be a man after God’s own heart. Samuel goes to Jesse’s house because Jesse has some kids who one just might have what it takes to be the next king. Jesse shows off his sons to Samuel. They’re big, strong, leaders. A man’s man. They have king written all over them. But each time God says “He’s not the one. I don’t look at the outside. I look at the inside.”
When Saul was chosen as king, the people got what they had wanted. Saul wasn’t who God had wanted, but he was what the people wanted. He was a big, tough, take-no-prisoners kind of guy. Saul embodied everything that we men think we need to be. But you know what was missing? God’s heart. Saul was full of himself, not full of God. That’s why Samuel didn’t find a king among Jesse’s oldest sons. They reminded God too much of Saul. In these moments when the future of God’s people hung in the balance, God wanted his kind of man to come forward as the next leader.
Guys, God has a different idea about what makes a man a man. David is certainly a warrior. He is strong, he is tough. He is Braveheart, John Wayne, and Russell Crowe rolled into one. But there is one single dimension which sets him apart from his brothers and will set us apart from the cultural stereotypes of manhood – his heart. His heart belongs to God.
Now, I don’t need to tell you this. Guys there exists in every single one of us a God-warrior waiting to get out. But while we battle the stereotypes on one side to be the tough, unemotional, loner. We battle another set of stereotypes on the other – the church side. Ladies, don’t take offense, but the church has historically feminized church. And in doing so has unintentionally kept some men away from church. Think about how church is done. We come together to sit and listen. We hold hands, hug, sing songs about love, talk about cooking, socials, plan teas, and appreciate emotions, comfort and a nurturing community. Every single guy I know is beating down the door to be part of that!
Guys, God has wired us together differently. Our DNA is all about exploring, risking, building, rescuing, hunting, gathering. Look at the first men Jesus recruited to be on his rescue team – they were rugged fishermen, small business owners, activists.
Historically, the church hasn’t known what to do with guys who don’t fit the mould. So instead of releasing you into the risk and unknown of following Jesus into dangerous mission, the church has said your job is just to help fix things that are broken around the building or sit on a committee to make decisions. Will those things really satisfy our inward instinct to be men of purpose?
It’s okay to man up in the church. In fact we all should, guys – to be God’s men – men after his own heart. Men who lead, risk, innovate.
There are three dynamics which I believe resonant with us guys and move us to be more fully the men Jesus made us to be.
Men who save the world. The Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible, kind of saving the world. Where, if we don’t do something big, people are going to die – kind of save the world. When it came to this, Jesus was a man’s man. He completely understood that he was sending his team out to save the world. (Acts 1:8). Sending them out in ways that their lives showed people Jesus.
Wesley - “Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”